Congratulations to our 2023 finalists.
This award welcomes submissions from individuals or teams who are NHS Scotland staff, social care professionals, or staff who work in the independent health and social care sectors. It will celebrate individuals or teams who have made an outstanding contribution to the care of the people of Scotland. Tell us about the person or team and how their care has improved people's lives and what makes them so special.
Nicole Brown, a mother from Drongan, Ayrshire, is raising awareness of a rare genetic condition following her son Micah's passing. Micah fought for six months with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) and is remembered as a brave warrior by Nicole and her partner Ian McEwan. Nicole, who had previously endured 16 miscarriages, opted to give Micah a fighting chance despite doctors' warnings. He underwent numerous surgeries and medical procedures during his short life, showing courge and bravery at such a young age. Despite their loss, the couple remains grateful for the support they received from doctors and nurses, whom they consider angels. In response, the family plans to raise awareness about CDH, having so far raised funds for medical units and CDH UK. Nicole's aunt, Liz Fulton, even named her café after Micah and continues to organise fundraising events to further their efforts. Nicole, Ian, and their loved ones have since found solace in the arrival of the couple’s daughter Miah, born just 10 months after Micah's death, whom they consider a gift from their late son, and celebrate the precious children while cherishing Micah's memory and the impact he had during his short but inspiring life.
Calum's Cabin is a charity established in memory of Calum Speirs who passed away from a brain tumour in 2007. Calum's twin sister, Jenna, has spent the past 16 years honouring his legacy by running the charity with her parents, alongside working as a radiographer to help cancer patients. Calum's dying wish was to create a holiday retreat for children with cancer, and two years after his death, the dream became a reality. Over the years, the charity has expanded to have three holiday homes in Bute, Ayrshire and Fife, as well as nine flats in Glasgow for families to stay in while their child receives cancer treatment in the hospital. Calum's Cabin has become a beacon of hope for families facing childhood cancer, providing them with a much-needed break and support. Families have the opportunity to spend quality time together away from hospital stays and appointments, creating precious memories. Jenna, who was crowned our Sunday Mail Great Scot of 2008, her family and a dedicated team of supporters and volunteers, continue to raise funds for future projects to support even more families in need, having raised over £8 million so far and supported more than 160 families each year.
Community Champion, In partnership with Utilita
This award celebrates an individual or group who have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people within their local communities. This could be someone who participated in community action, or who has made a huge difference through volunteering or leadership.
Chelsea Cameron has become a beacon of hope and inspiration for those affected by drug addiction. Having personally experienced the tragedy and turmoil associated with her parents' drug abuse, Chelsea has dedicated her life to making a difference and advocating for change. At the age of 18, Chelsea's open letter to her parents went viral, capturing the attention of many who resonated with her challenging upbringing. Instead of blaming her parents, she expressed gratitude to them for revealing the harsh realities of addiction which motivated her to pursue a better life. Through her work with addicts, government advisory roles, volunteering with the homeless and pursuing a degree in Community Education, Chelsea has demonstrated that addressing addiction begins at the grassroots level, emphasising the importance of listening and showing compassion to those struggling with addiction. Tragically, Chelsea's father passed away from a drug overdose last year, further fueling her commitment to supporting individuals and combating the stigma associated with addiction. She aims to foster understanding and empathy, urging others to see addiction as an illness rather than passing judgement. Chelsea's incredible journey, including winning the Young Scot of 2017 award, shows her unwavering determination to effect positive change.
Peter Dempster, a dedicated swimming enthusiast and veteran swimming coach, was recently honoured for his lifelong contribution to the sport with a British Empire Medal. Joined by his family at the ceremony in Clydebank Town Hall, Peter, who was about to turn 95, reminisced about his time at Clydebank Amateur Swimming Club. He has led an incredible life teaching generations of Bankies his philosophy of participation for enjoyment, fitness and team spirit. Starting at the age of ten in 1938, he pursued swimming, coaching and water polo, even teaching until recently before a fall and hip injury. Not only was Peter recognised for his athletic achievements, but he was also praised for his local impact. Peter has created a remarkable legacy in Scotland and the Clydebank community, and prior to this recent recognition, in 2019 Peter was also commended for his many years of voluntary work helping to coach budding swimmers. His eight decades-long commitment to coaching and training countless individuals has greatly influenced many and improved the lives of countless people, making him a true hero and source of pride.
David Flucker, a remarkable centenarian from Edinburgh, is defying retirement norms by working three days a week at the age of 101. After retiring at 72, he quickly realised that having nothing to do was unbearable and the importance of staying busy and engaged. Instead, David spends his days working at St Columba's Hospice, sorting through donations and determining what can be sold and what cannot. Not only that, he takes pride in keeping the shop tidy and organised and is committed to maintaining and creating an appealing shop experience. Instead of a hospice store, he makes the store feel like a professional, renowned retailer where people enjoy working and shopping. David finds joy in working with the other cheerful volunteers who share his enthusiasm. He believes that staying mentally and physically active, connecting with people and helping others is key to a fulfilling life. He emphasises that assisting others not only brings personal satisfaction but also invites reciprocal support. David's inspiring story reminds us that age should not limit our contributions or fulfilment. His dedication and positive outlook demonstrate the value of staying active, fostering connections, and making a difference in the lives of others.
Community Project of the Year, in partnership with Stagecoach
Do you know a group that is supporting you or your community to thrive? Do you know an individual who is working on a project to better their community? Tell us all about it.
Amma Birth Companions
Amma Birth Companions has a mission to ensure that no one faces pregnancy, birth or early parenthood alone. They provide invaluable support to women who encounter significant barriers in accessing safe and dignified maternity care, such as poverty, cultural differences, language barriers, immigration status, trauma, sexual violence, trafficking and domestic abuse. Amma Birth Companions steps in to provide companionship to the women they support during pregnancy, at births and into the early postnatal period. They run a pregnancy group that includes antenatal classes conducted in multiple languages and tailored to cultural traditions and customs. Through their thriving peer support programme, Amma Family, they create a supportive community which is essential for new mothers. Since its establishment in 2019, Amma has stood by the side of over 300 women as they transitioned into motherhood. Their dedicated team of 16 staff members and 45 highly-trained volunteers provide physical, practical and emotional support to clients throughout the perinatal period, and language support volunteers help to facilitate clear communication in several different languages. Amma's peer support volunteers have been recruited from within their client group, recognising the importance of lived experiences and shared backgrounds in providing effective support. Amma Birth Companions’ unwavering commitment has had a profound impact on the lives of vulnerable women and their families.
Homeless Project Scotland
Homeless Project Scotland runs a soup kitchen seven nights a week under Glasgow's Hielanman's Umbrella and currently feeds more than 300 people a day. The largest soup kitchen in Scotland, the charity has seen an increase in people accessing support from the project, including children as young as three years old lining up, people travelling more than 10 miles for its services and people taking extra portions to freeze for future use. The Scotland-wide charity, which has 1,800 volunteers, relies on money donated by members of the public to buy and cook food for the Glasgow soup kitchen. As well as helping with food poverty at the soup kitchen, Homeless Project Scotland also distributes sim cards for free phone calls and hygiene packages to those in need. The charity's street team attends areas where there is a high level of rough sleepers to help them, reported through their dedicated helpline. The charity is currently on the lookout for a building in which to create a welfare centre that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Therapy Ponies Scotland
Elaine and John Sangster are the founders and driving force behind Therapy Ponies Scotland, an organisation which brings joy to sick and disabled children, elderly patients and dementia sufferers across Scotland. The couple founded the remarkable organisation eight years ago after a friend suggested they take one of the Shetland ponies they kept at home in West Lothian to visit a rehabilitation care home. The patients - many with brain injuries - immediately bonded with the tiny horse called Wilson and the care home asked if he could visit again. Realising the impact animal therapy can have, Elaine and John now visit care homes, nursing homes, hospices, day-care centres, sheltered housing facilities and out-of-school clubs for disabled children across Scotland with ponies from their collection of 15. Elaine says: “We travel to wherever we are asked to go, where possible. The amazing reactions and responses from residents and patients we see can be extraordinary. Sometimes people who don’t normally speak or hold a conversation can be talking to us and the ponies much to the amazement of their nurse and carers.”
Little Champion (Under 16 years old), in partnership with XSite Braehead
Do you know an extraordinary young person whose achievements, amazing courage or bravery make your heart burst with pride? Has someone you know battled the odds or showed incredible perseverance to save the day?
Nine-year-old Dayn Montgomery has shown incredible bravery and determination by supporting the Hillbillies Motor Cycle Club's Easter Egg Run despite recently undergoing open heart surgery. The event raised a record-breaking £3,807 for the Crosshouse Children's Fund which is close to Dayn and his family’s heart. Dayn was diagnosed at birth with Truncus Arteriosus with an interrupted aortic arch and underwent a 12-hour open heart surgery at just eight days old. Since then, Dayn's family has been actively supporting Glasgow RHC and Crosshouse Paediatrics in recognition of their kindness and care. With the help of the 14th Ayrshire Scout Group, Dayn works tirelessly during the Easter and Christmas seasons to deliver essential items and raise vital funds. The community's response to Dayn's charitable initiatives has been remarkable, with the donations increasing year after year. In fact, Dayn’s charitable efforts have not gone unnoticed, seeing him recognised with a Parliamentary Motion for his exceptional charity work in the previous year. Dayn and his family are determined to continue their efforts in giving back to the hospital that has shown them such support, compassion and care throughout their journey.
Hanlon Stevenson became a local hero at the age of two when he dialled 999 after his mother, Lisa, suffered a seizure. The incident took place on February 11, 2019, at their home in Broom Court, Bannockburn. When Hanlon made the emergency call from a mobile phone, he informed the police so that the emergency services were immediately dispatched, and Lisa was subsequently taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital for treatment. Hanlon, who attends Bannockburn Primary School, was recently honoured with a Young Hero Award at a Police Scotland ceremony. for his actions Constable Martin Reynolds of Stirling nominated Hanlon for the award, acknowledging his exceptional presence of mind and the ability to recognise a potential emergency situation at such a young age. Hanlon's action of calling 999 and providing a description of his mother's condition demonstrated his remarkable ability to initiate the resolution of what could have been a life-threatening medical issue. Chief Superintendent Alan Gibson, the divisional commander of Police Scotland's Forth Valley division, expressed his admiration for Hanlon's quick thinking and credited him with saving his mother's life. He emphasised that Hanlon's prompt action made a significant difference, and without it, the outcome could have been much worse.
Quinn Young, a 10-year-old girl from Inverness, Scotland, has achieved the remarkable feat of conquering all of Scotland's Munros. A primary school pupil in P6 at Duncan Forbes Primary, Quinn is a multi-talented young girl who is also involved in various activities. She is a member of the Inverness Harriers athletic club and a swimming club and enjoys cycling and plays the trumpet in a brass band. Quinn expressed her pride and joy at her hiking accomplishment, saying: "I feel proud of myself. I'm pleased to have done them all, and I want to do some of them again. My favourites are on Skye, including The Inaccessible Pinnacle." Throughout her journey, Quinn was accompanied by her father, Ian, who is immensely proud of her achievements. Ian, who climbed his own Munros relatively recently, expressed how people were amazed by what Quinn had accomplished and often approached her during their climbs for encouragement and entertainment. Ian hopes that their adventures can inspire others to realise the potential for amazing experiences in the outdoors. Looking ahead, they plan to tackle some smaller peaks, including Corbetts and Grahams, as a father-daughter team.
Making a Difference Award, in partnership with Specsavers
This award is for an individual or group who has made a difference to somebody’s life or to their local community. We know that there are people throughout Scotland - unsung heroes - who have gone above and beyond to make a difference to others. It's those little acts of human kindness that can often make the biggest impact.
Baby Loss Retreat
Julie and Bryan Morisson founded Baby Loss Retreat in 2018 in memory of their daughter Erin to help fellow parents who have been bereaved by neonatal death, stillbirth and miscarriage. Julie and Bryan received a Points of Light Award last year and an invitation to a Burns night event at the Prime Minister’s residence in recognition of their work, with Rishi Sunak praising their work and encouraging them to keep up their efforts. The charity provides free breaks at tranquil retreats for bereaved parents, as well as a busy programme of counselling and support groups, plus trauma and music therapy. Not only that, they also run an annual memorial service and have a busy charity shop in Airdrie which raises funds to support their ever-growing programme of work. Customers are able to clothe their kids for under £20 and buy toys for less. The Baby Loss Retreat charity is also currently planning fundraising events for later in the year, including an afternoon tea to be held at St Augustine’s in Coatbridge in August and a psychic night fundraiser in September.
Mavis Paterson, an 80-year-old woman from Auchenmalg in Dumfriesshire, has faced tremendous grief and loss in her life. In a span of just a few years, she tragically lost all of her children to health problems, having already lost her husband two decades ago. These devastating losses left Mavis feeling lost and alone. In an effort to cope with her grief and honour the memory of her loved ones, Mavis turned to supporting Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity she chose because she had already lost her mother and younger sister to cancer. Mavis and her son Bob had planned to undertake a 24-hour cycle around Stranraer together as a fundraising event for Macmillan, however, when Bob passed away, Mavis felt that the plan was no longer feasible. Yet, with the support of the charity and her local community, she has found the strength to revive their mission and pursue the North Rhins route in Galloway. Mavis's determination to honour her loved ones and support a cause close to her heart is a testament to her resilience and strength, having seen her raise more than £700 of her initial goal of £2,000 already.
Creator of Wheels to Heal charity, Khalid Raza has helped rescue and restore more than 24,000 wheelchairs and disability aids from landfill via his pioneering initiative. Based in Glasgow, he set up the organisation in 2015 after coming across more than 150 chairs that were destined to become waste in landfill. With the help of a team of volunteers, he set about saving them and restoring them to serve people without access to mobility equipment due to impoverished situations, social stigma or conflict. Wheels for Heals offers a collection service across mainland UK and an uplift service allowing more than 500 care homes to donate mobility aids. The charity also sends items overseas to countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Gambia, Ghana, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Palestine, Malawi, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Uganda, and Yemen. Khalid, 54, says: “It is a shout against waste culture, an alternative to landfill, creating an emotional legacy for thousands of equipment donors. Overseas, it is a huge cry of relief for those fortunate to be given the gift of mobility as well as a little voice for the millions of disabled people who continue to be invisible.”
Military & Emergency Services Champion
We want to know about the beat bobby who goes an extra mile, the firefighter or paramedic at the heart of a community and the outstanding service person who deserves to be honoured.
Emergency Medical Retrieval Service
Scotland’s Emergency Medical Retrieval Service, which specialises in critical care and safe transfer of patients in remote locations, was formed in 2004 by a group of ten consultants based in Glasgow and Paisley and was awarded permanent funding to cover the whole of Scotland in 2010. Civil engineer Euan, 47, was working on remote pylons on a mountain on the Isle of Skye when his quad bike flipped over, trapping him underneath. One arm was pinned underneath the 650kg bike and he thought it was severed. In terrible pain, he spent the next three and a half hours painstakingly digging a hole around his pocket with a pen in order to get to his mobile phone so he could call for help. He managed to tell a 999 call handler: “I’ve lost my arm, and I need a helicopter because it’s inaccessible here,” before blacking out. A trauma team of heroes from EMRS was sent out to rescue him from the horrific accident, with consultant Dr Niall McMahon and advanced retrieval practitioner Darren Black flying out in a Scottish Ambulance Service Eurocopter landing on steep, uneven land and a Coastguard helicopter lifting the quad bike off his body.
PC Jamie Byrne and PC Ian McInnes
Ministry of Defence officers PC Jamie Byrne and PC Iain McInnes plucked four people to safety, including a woman who was 30 seconds from drowning, after plunging into a freezing loch. The pair discovered the group who had fallen into the freezing waters of Loch Long after their dinghy capsised as they ferried supplies back to their yacht. The group included the woman who was in danger of drowning after her lifejacket became trapped around her neck, pushing her underwater, who was also showing early signs of hypothermia. The pair, from the Clyde Marine Unit, pulled the woman and her companions to safety and called in a lifeboat and a search and rescue helicopter to winch the woman for hospital treatment. PC McInnes said they arrived just in time to save the group moments before they may have succumbed to the icy temperatures: “Even another 30 seconds and I think one of the women would have gone under the water completely.” Defence Police Federation Chairman Eamon Keating said: “Iain and Jamie displayed composure, courage and exemplary boat skills. Jamie had only recently qualified as an RHIB coxswain. His skill, along with Iain’s experience, prevented this rescue from being a recovery.”
PC Carly Fulton and PD Ben
Constable Carly Fulton and her police dog, Ben, have been honoured with the National Police Chiefs' Council’s Dog Team of the Year award following their exceptional efforts during a missing person incident in Carluke, Lanarkshire, in August 2022. While local officers received assistance from resources such as the police helicopter and licensed search officers, progress in the case was impeded by challenging woodland and overgrowth. Despite the conditions, Constable Fulton and Ben persisted in the search to locate the missing woman. Unfortunately, during the search, Carly suffered a severe injury when she lost her footing, breaking her heel bone and damaging her ankle and foot ligaments. Undeterred by the pain and difficulties, Constable Fulton persevered, sometimes resorting to crawling, until the duo successfully found the woman. The woman was then taken to hospital and PC Fulton needed rehabilitation for her injuries before returning to full duties six months later. Chief Superintendent Tracey Robinson commended Constable Fulton and Ben for their remarkable determination and dedication to public service. She expressed congratulations on their well-deserved award and highlighted the vital support provided by all dog handlers, who contribute as a national resource to local policing and their communities.
A stranger bravely caught a baby dropped by a desperate mum from the window of a burning building, acting solely on instinct and compassion. Ryan McGeachie was walking home from the shops when he found himself at the centre of a terrifying drama. The 30-year-old heard a woman screaming “fire” from the upstairs window of a tenement block, in Ibrox, Glasgow and sprinted over to help. She was holding a little girl to the window - and when she saw Ryan waiting below, she threw the child down to him. The fishmonger managed to stay calm and caught the youngster, potentially saving her life. The woman then jumped from the window herself and was taken to hospital for the injuries sustained in the fall. It is no doubt that Ryan’s quick thinking allowed the mother and child to be saved from a life-threatening situation. Ryan said: "It was very spur of the moment. I wasn't thinking anything apart from ‘get the child’, so I grabbed her. I was relieved when I caught her. I put her down and made sure she was okay. It's just what you have to do. I reckon anybody would do that.’’
Fraser Ritchie from Fife was one of the members of the public to be recognised alongside police officers in the Chief Constable’s Bravery and Excellence Awards on in February 2023. Fraser was at a Kirkcaldy grocery store in February last year when he witnessed two men committing a robbery. One of the men pointed what he believed to be a firearm at him, instructing him to leave the premises, so Fraser retreated and summoned another member of the public to contact the police. However, as the men left the shop, Fraser bravely and skillfully disarmed, apprehended and controlled one of them until officers arrived. His courageous actions assisted in the arrest of both men, further protecting the public from future unsafe situations as well as those involved in the incident. Thankfully, the firearm was found to be a replica, however, the risk remained deadly when Fraser undertook his valiant action. Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone presented the award to Fraser for stepping forward when help was needed, making him one of the chosen civilians to be recognised for showing the ultimate commitment to his community and unwavering courage for the benefit of others.
Robert Smale's act of bravery and selflessness was recognised at the Chief Constable's Bravery and Excellence Awards held in February 2023. At Saltcoats Harbour in January 2022, Robert Smales rescued a driver who had driven off the pier into the water. On what was a freezing cold and dark morning, Robert entered the water and put his own safety aside to help the person in need. It was highlighted by attending paramedics and coastguard that the health dangers of exposure to low-temperature water on the driver would have taken effect if it were not for Robert’s quick and selfless actions, meaning he likely saved the driver's life. The awards, organised by Police Scotland and presented by Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone, aimed to acknowledge and celebrate acts of bravery and professionalism demonstrated by police officers, staff and citizens across Scotland. Robert's heroic act exemplified the spirit of the awards and demonstrated the impact that individuals can have when they step forward in times of need. Sir Iain expressed his gratitude and considered it a privilege to recognise the bravery of citizens like Robert Smale, who displayed courage when faced with a critical situation.